--Captain Malcolm Reynolds, "Firefly"
I've climbed the 50,000-word mountain (50,932 ... and I haven't even finished the story yet).
What an awesome experience. And to think, just 30 days ago I had neither plot nor characters. All I had was an idea that involved a local historical mill and a gruesome murder or two. Now, 30 days later, I have characters, scenes, dialogue, way too much description, and three murders.
Even though the prospect of writing 1,600+ words each day for 30 days was intimidating, I found it to be actually fairly easy. Once I'd trained the boys, dogs, and spouse that "I'm NaNo-ing" meant that I'd be busy for the next half hour to 45 minutes, it was so easy to just close my eyes and type what floated into my head.
Of course, now I need to finish the story (I stopped before the most exciting part, which is guaranteed to keep me writing), then go back and flesh everything out. I mean, I have two male leads and two female leads, and the villain is about as easy to spot as a chocolate stain on your favorite white shirt.
From what I understand, a so-called average novel is about 100,000 words, so I'm a little more than half-way there. I'll be using what I learned from taking Holly Lisle's "How to Think Sideways" course (thank you, Holly!). I'll also be using Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Pro software (both easy and fun to use -- thanks, Randy!).
Most of all, I'll be using the self-confidence that accrued during the last 30 days.
Now when I tell people that I'm a writer and they ask what I write, I can tell them that, in addition to the business, technical, and marketing writing, I'm also a novelist. Life is good!